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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blooming in My Garden This Week

  
 Today I'd like to share a few photos of my garden. The above is a corner of my small garden that is quite colorful right now. That's a solar fountain in the midst of the flowers. I'm particularly fond of the blanket flowers in the front. They don't ask for any special care and if deadheaded, they will continue to provide a strong splash of color right up until frost. They also make excellent cutting flowers and with luck, the plant will come back next year.


     Finally, here is a close up of mallow which is blooming in my large garden.  This garden continues to be a work in progress.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jefferson and Adams: A Revolutionary Dialogue

     Are you looking for something to do after the parade passes by, the burgers are flipped, and you've had your fill  of potato salad and hot dogs on the Fourth? Then head to the lawn of the Beale House, 181 Adams Street in Quincy, MA, to see a dramatization about the long, sometimes warm and sometimes strained, relationship between Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The three-person play is sponsored by the National Park Services. The roles of Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson will again be played by actors from Colonial Williamsburg. The two hour play with its simple staging is a fascinating look into the fifty year friendship between these two great men.
     The play begins at 7:00 and admission in free. There is ample street parking. I attended last year's performance and will be there again this year as I can think of no better way to celebrate our country's birthday.  If you go, you might want to bring a jacket and bug spray. I'll see you there!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Quilt Racks

     I just returned from spending all day quilting with friends in Stoughton, MA. We get  together each month to quilt, laugh, shop, laugh, eat, talk, and laugh some more. My friend's sister lives out of state, but happily, this weekend she was able to join us.  She brought with her two mahogany quilt racks that I had ordered.  This is the smaller of the two racks as I wanted something I could place in the corner of my livingroom.
    I love the fact that it has a shelf on top for displaying things. Didn't her husband do a fabulous job on it? I'll post a photo of the regular size one another time.
   What pray tell is this mass of brightly colored cording? It's a clothesline covered with luscious, batik fabrics. Why you ask? Well, I mentioned in an earlier post this week that I am taking a class at a local quilt shop, Heart in Hands in Weymouth, MA. Here is my homework for step two in our tote bag making class. According to my calculations, this fabric covered rope measures 108.5 feet in length. I spent the better part of the last two days working on this, so dear friends, when you see me carrying the finished project, please tell me that it looks wonderful. :-) It should be finished sometime this week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Midnight in Paris

     I met friends for lunch today and later a few of us went to see Midnight in Paris which was playing at the Loring Hall in Hingham. This modern, romantic comedy was directed and written by Wood Allen. The story is set in Paris, and the city never looked more beautiful than it does in this film. There is an unusual plot device which moves the story along. I don't want to reveal too much, but it involves stepping back in time; in this case, Paris of the 1920s. It was charming, and I would  give it a B+.
     Driving home from Hingham Center, I always like to drive pass the Abraham Lincoln statue. Imagine my surprise when I spotted Old Abe sporting a Bruins t-shirt.
It seems just about everyone is excited about our Stanley Cup Champions.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Notion Commotion

     Today, I along with some friends attended a "Notion Commotion" day at Ann's Fabrics in Canton, MA. Ann and three members of her staff had recently returned from Quilt Market, a tradeshow for quilt shop owners and others in the fabric industry. They brought back some of the newest patterns, rulers, tools, and notions. The shop was filled with quilters eager to see what they had discovered at Quilt Market.  Each lady in the audience certainly appeared to be doing her level best to help boost the local economy. 
     I signed up for a class and purchased some fabric, a wallhanging kit with a patriotic theme, a wire rack to hang this wallhanging on my front door, a pattern for a small sewing traveling case, and a package of Bali Pops. For those non-quilters who are reading this blog, a Bali Pops package contain forty batik, fabric strips. The package I bought was labeled "Mango Margarita." You can use these strips to make quilts, but I'm going to use these bright, tropical colored strips in an upcoming tote bag class. 
     All in all, it was a perfectly lovely way to spend the day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Excellence in Teaching Celebration

     Last night, the Bruins won the seventh game in the series to bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston.  It was a great hockey game and all across New England, folks are celebrating and rightly so. Today I attended  a different type of celebration at the State House. It was a celebration to honor some all-star educators. From various speakers we learned about the achievements and dedication of these teachers to their students and to their communities. The media was not there to cover this inspiring, positive story, so let me tell you who was honored. Jessica Kodys of the Milford Public Schools was honored as the 2011 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year. Michael Flynn of the Southampton Public Schools and Wai Chin Ng of the Boston Public Schools were the Massachusetts Finalists for the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science. The 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Adam William Gray, a mathematics teacher from Monument High School in Boston, was also honored at this wonderful event.
     Why was I at this luncheon? Well, back in 1999 I had the amazing honor of being named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator. Roni Gold of the Springfield Public Schools is this year's latest recipient becoming the thirty-ninth Massachusetts Milken Educator. As former recipients, we are all invited to this event, and today ten of us were there to pose for this family photo.
Roni is seated in the middle of the front row. Also in the photo is Deborah Walker (second row, fourth from the left) who is the Director of Educator Recognition Programs for the Massachusetts Department of Education and in the back row on the left is journalist and television host, Josh Binswanger.
     Sue Pandiani in pink in the front row wanted me to include a piece about what happened after the celebration. Sue and I had a terrible time trying to leave the State House. We walked around and around the building searching for an exit. Though we found plenty of exits, each one had a large sign indicating not to attempt to use that exit. We were beginning to feel a bit like Charlie on the MBTA. Finally, we approached a young man who was busy texting, and we asked him how we could find our way out. He regarded us dimly with eyes rolled up to the ceiling and said, "Just look for an EXIT sign." This set us both to laughing as we had had no problem finding exit signs and indeed the exits themselves, but we just couldn't seem to find an EXIT that would actually let us exit. Eventually, another person did give us directions, and we were finally able to exit an EXIT. Now lest you think that Sue and I are a bit dim, we discovered that though there are twenty-two exits from the State House, post 9/11, only two can actually be used.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Slowsky Debate Rages on S-L-O-W-L-Y

     It seems that the turtle vs. tortoise debate continues. (Blog posts June 3rd and 5th) My friend Laurel who came to spend the day quilting today seemed pretty sure that it was a snapping turtle. Frankly, I'm at a loss. If you can identify it for sure, please leave a comment. :-)

     These two shots were also taken the other night on the camera club field trip.

   That's all for now as I have to review my homework for my Italian class. Ciao!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Boston at Night



     Last night I joined other members of the South Shore Camera Club as we headed to  Piers Park in East Boston in hopes of getting some sunset shots of the Boston skyline. The sunset didn't cooperate as we would have hoped, but it was a beautiful night to be out and about and to watch the boats go by.
     Piers Park in East Boston is truly an absolute gem. I'm not quite sure I would ever be able to find my way back there, but it would be definitely worth the effort.


     We also spent some time photographing the Lennie Zakim bridge, and here's my favorite shot of the night.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blue Orchid

    I thought it would be too warm to garden today, so instead after a few appointments, I headed to  Abington to see what Seone's Garden center had to offer. Big mistake! They had all kinds of lovely plants, and of course, a few came home with me which means I'll be doing some planting tomorrow.
  Since today is so warm, I thought I would post a photo taken on Saturday of my friend Donna's new, 
orchid. Isn't the color soothing and cool? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Backyard Visitor

   
       This morning I headed to the gym since I knew it would be too hot to do any gardening. When I returned home and pulled into my driveway, I was greeted by this turkey in my side yard. She then moseyed around to the back and eventually headed down into the woods.
     This was not the first time I have seen a turkey in my yard. Last year there was a mother with four poults. Still, it is quite a surprise to see them, but as along as my flowers are left alone, it's all right by me. :-)
  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hibiscus

  
      I'm finished gardening for this morning. Honestly, I just don't seem to have the stamina for gardening that I used to have. It was hot and after planting impatiens along the front of the big garden, tugging out some invasive vines, and digging up some saplings that had sprung up in the back corner I called it quits. I need  to get this back section in some kind of order because my Italian teacher brought me two zucchini plants last night that should get into the ground soon. The temperature is forecast to be in the nineties Wednesday and Thursday so I'll tackle this section again on Friday when it cools off a bit.
     Isn't this hibiscus spectacular? I first developed a fondness for hibiscuses while visiting San Diego back in 2000. They were everywhere. Since then, there has always been a hibiscus or two on my porch.
  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Quilty" Day and Updates

     Yesterday was a fun "quilty" day. It started with the final meeting of the Herring Run Quilt Guild before the summer break. After that, my quilting friends (Donna, Liz, Edith, and Maribeth) and I went to Watertown to see a quilt show. After Maribeth left us to head to work, the rest of us hit two quilt shops. By this time it was late  in the afternoon, so we stopped for dinner at Marina Bay. It was a lovely way to spend the day.
     After Mass this morning, a friend was commenting on my blog, and she wondered if the photos in my previous posting were those of a tortoise, not a turtle. Well, I just checked that out for the shell of it and this is what I discovered. It appears that my photo was indeed of a tortoise. If the back legs are webbed, it's a turtle; if the back legs are stumpy as with an elephant, it's a tortoise. Who knew? Anyway, here's another fun fact to file away in your memory bank. . . a group of turtles is called a "bale of turtles."
     One last thing, my composter is fully assembled. As I mentioned in my last post, I thought I would need to ask a neighbor for help with the turning mechanism as I just couldn't seem to figure it out. Well, after a good night's sleep, I headed out once again with my trusty screwdrivers and wrenches and low and behold I was able to figure the last part out. Yes! Persistence pays off! Now without further ado, here is my new composter, Tah Dah!
Isn't it a beauty? It turned out to be a lot larger than I expected, but I rolled it behind this large forsythia bush so it is tucked out of view.   

Friday, June 3, 2011

Slowsky Relation?

     Yesterday morning as I was out walking Katie, my neighbor at the bottom of the hill stuck her head out the door and called out to me to take a look at what was going on in her flower bed. There was a large turtle laying eggs in her newly turned over bed. Of course, I went home to get my camera. By the time that I returned, the turtle had moved away from the flower bed, and she seemed intent on paying a visit to the folks inside the house. I'm pretty sure the steps would have prevented that, but I didn't wait around to find out.
They weren't the only ones with something interesting in their front yard. I discovered a fungus among us! It at least six inches across and near my front door. I thought it looked interesting, so I added this image.
     Then it was finally time to do errands. A friend had come along for the ride and since we ended up in Kingston, we decided to head to the Lobster Hut in Plymouth for lunch. Yum! When I returned home, I began assembling my latest purchase, a composter. My compost piles are just round wire circles which I fill with grass and leaves, but I have a big problem with tree roots growing into the rich soil. For that reason I splurged on a composter that attaches to a frame. You can turn the heavy, black plastic barrel to aerate the pile. They didn't have one on display in the store, but the salesman said it would probably involve just attaching the frame with a few nuts and bolts. He was wrong! I knew I was in for a challenge when I opened the carton. There was the barrel in four pieces, the frame in four pieces, a couple lengths of metal rods, and a bag of various sized nuts, bolts, and washers. Yikes!  The instructions were on a double-sided sheet and consisted of a series of tiny marked drawings. Undaunted I began. The frame went together fairly quickly, and it was then on to the barrel.  No exaggeration, I spent about four hours putting this foolish thing together; there was an aerator which had to fit inside the barrel. If nothing else, I am persistent. This part would have gone more quickly with another pair of hands holding the sides together as I fastened things in place. In the end, the frame and barrel (which went together with a kajillion nuts and bolts) were done, but the end cap pieces simply wouldn't fit on the piece which goes through the barrel. I hate to admit defeat, but I'm going to have to ask my neighbor to help with this final step.